Friday, May 29, 2009

28052009 in 10 words (or more)

In no particular mood to write but in the mood to share what I've been up to today.

Described in 10 words: out, sisters, movie, books, baking, eating x 3, capsquare, jusco au2, tired.

If only I could actually do this everyday. Coffee, books to study & books to unwind.

Girls fooling around.

The All American Food. Still love A&W for it's Root beer, curly fries, coney dogs and (of course) the waffles!

And of course, to end the day, finally done with the finishing touches to the cake I've been slaving over the past 2 days. Have to say, it's the biggest and complicated cake I've done so far!

What's not included in the pics above are 2 more chocolate cakes I baked for my sisters' teachers day celebration tomorrow. Thus, the tiredness and me missing out on free tix for Terminator tonight. Ah well...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kampar - Part 2 - WWR

A bad case of insomnia again. This is what happens when you don't have any commitments during the day. And my books... well, we maintain only a casual relationship.

Anyway, as promised, that second half of my Kampar trip.

White-water rafting (WWR) (noun): a challenging recreational activity using a raft to navigate a river or other bodies of water. This is usually done on whitewater or different degrees of rough water, in order to thrill and excite the raft passengers.

After coming out of Gua Tempurung, basically we had just enough time to clean ourselves up a bit and take with us whatever stuff necessary, before being ushered into a van which will take us off-road and further into Kampar rural areas towards Sg Kampar. I think the ride took up 10 - 15 minutes (?) going through rubber plantations, passing by some villages as well as other camp sites in the area. We were heading towards RIVERBUG base camp, right beside Sg Kampar, where lunch was provided. And I cannot stress on how much all of us were looking forward to this. Food!

Lunch was a simple affair: rice and some lauk. They definitely didn't skimp out on us, and there were enough for seconds. Ate, stretched our legs, and into the van again, where they'll be transporting us to the main 'launch' site. I think the ride was a bit longer this time around. Could've been 20 - 30 minutes? Wouldn't know cuz I fell asleep. Ahh... the bane of carbohydrates.

By the time we reached the site, there were a smattering of rain already, but nothing biggie. In fact, everyone were getting themselves excited. Rain meant higher water level, and higher water level meant more fun! We went ahead to get ourselves strapped on with life jackets and safety helmets, and get hold of a paddle, as if it is all routined, without much of an instruction from Reha or any of the guides there. Then the briefing with Maxxy (yes, our utterly cute guide). Have I mentioned that it started pouring rain at this point?

We could hardly hear Maxxy with the instructions over the din of the rain. But basically, he covered with us the seating arrangements, safety procedures, how to paddle, how to respond to code words, what to do if you go overboard, what to do if the raft flips, what to expect at different rapid levels... yadda yadda yadda... not that I was paying much attention though (kidding!).

Afterwards, we split ourselves up into teams of 5. Of course, it would be advisable to have a raft with a good mix of girls and guys, but my friends and I wanted to stick together. So they let us be, with a promise that we would pull our weights with the paddling work. And... we were even sly enough to get Maxxy as our raft master.

And so... under the weight of the heavy rain, we trudged on ahead to the river, where our respective raft and raft master awaits. Ours were the last to 'launch', and we had a run-through with Maxxy on the paddling techniques, how to respond when he shouts out "Boomboom!" (trust me... it's not something you'd want to hear), and learnt how to 'High-5' with our paddles.

In the beginning, we kept a pretty tight space between the rafts as we maneuvered through some level 1 rapids. But we didn't expect to hear "Boomboom!" so soon though, as we braced ourselves for a pretty rough ride. It was rough alright and we even got ourselves stuck in between some rocks and had water flooding into the raft! Two of the girls sitting at back (I wanted to be the 'macho' one so opted to sit up-front) were struggling to wade through the water, and one person even went overboard! The boat was tipping precariously to flipping over, and we had to pull our weights to the front of the boat in order to get ourselves 'untangled' from the rocks. Of course, rescue mission was nothing but swift, and our 'girl-overboard' was rescued by another raft before being returned to us, albeit a little unwillingly at this point. She was convinced that it was all a conspiracy to scare her out of her wits.

Shortly after this incident, we came to our pit-stop, where we docked our rafts and went swimming! I must admit that it has been awhile since the last time I swam in a river. And the water was so cool... and we were all still wearing our lifejackets, so it was nice just floating about.

Taking a dip.

We got on the raft soon after, in high spirits. Despite being a bit shaken up by the near-flipping-over incident, we were pumped up with the adrenaline rush. And I think from this point onwards, our raft was the most kecoh of the lot. Maxxy was more than willing to kecoh along with us.

The ride onwards were pretty smooth. We had a few more "Boomboom!"s but we were more than prepared for it. And we were getting pretty good at listening to Maxxy's instructions and actually responding to it (much to his relief). There were no further drama beyond this that I could think of, although another raft had another case of man-overboard. After going through a series of rapids, we finally went to cruising mode. All the rafts started going on their own pace now, instead of keeping up as a group. I'd have to say that we had the best raft master on board, as Maxxy was game enough with our pleas to travel slower. We even took a few turns jumping off the raft, and went body-surfing down the river. Of course, getting back onthe raft was another problem entirely.

Finally, we reached our docking point. Can't believe the entire ride took-up almost 2 hours though, because it felt like a matter of minutes! But it was such a great experience. Definitely up for more (challenging?) WWR in the future. I've set my eyes on Kuala Kubu and Slim River next.

By the time we got back to our cars, it was 630pm. The facilities at Gua Tempurung had already closed for the day, so we decided to head to Tapah RnR to get ourselves clean-up and change into dry clothes. Of course, we couldn't leave Kampar without more cam-whoring though. Further madness ensues. Especially now that we're still high with adrenaline.

Beware! Monkeys crossing ahead.

Japanese engineering + fun outgoing peeps = one unforgetable roadtrip

Making use of the hairdryer at Tapah RnR

Best way to unwind: teh tarik & steamy buns

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Forecast: Harsh Landing Ahead

I think I've hurt the feelings of someone very important to me. And I'm not sure how to take it back. Or how I could go back and apologize. For bluntly speaking my mind? Maybe I should've put more thoughts into those words, before spewwing them so senselessly. Or maybe my thoughts and my own opinion should be best kept to myself first. Give myself the time to consider them carefully, perhaps under a microscope or a flashlight, and perhaps to consider its' bearing on other people?

I'm not sure what to do. To go back and to retract my words, I would look fickle and indecisive. But... perhaps, I have been rather capricious lately... flighty... choosing to ignore the facts and reality of my situations... choosing to be naive and ignorant... just to make myself feel good for the moment? I think I've my heads up in the clouds for too long. I think it's time to come down. And I've a feeling it'll be a bumpy and harsh landing.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Unveiling: Vietnam!

I think it's high time I tell-all on my June trip that I've been keeping hush-hush for the past few months. Well... *drumroll*... I'll be going off to Vietnam on 9th June, the day after my final exam paper, for 10 days! I know this news is pretty anti-climatic since I'm sure most people who knows me are aware of this. BUT... the big deal about this trip is that it'll be my first solo travel!

I've been trying to keep this piece of information under the wraps for few reasons.

#1. I absolutely do not want to jinx this plan. Travelling solo have been something that I've wanted to do for awhile, just never had the courage to take that leap. So what made me jump? I'm not sure... but I think it was a hard-shoved push off the cliff, rather than me willingly jump. Backpacking through Vietnam has been on my mind for awhile, eversince I watched Amazing Race Asia and found out about the beautiful lost city of Hue. But the prospect of travelling solo is scary, yet I know it'll be a good experience as well as a worthy challenge. So... when AirAsia had a promotion last February, I just... closed my eyes and bought a one way ticket. Yes. One way. Because I know that once I've bought that ticket, there is no turning back. I have to go through with this. So... here I am!

#2. I am unprepared. The trip is 2 weeks away and I have yet to do any solid research. I may have a rough idea of where I plan on going. Will be flying into Ho Chi Minh (aka Saigon), spend 2 nights there, before travelling northwards. I've been to Hanoi, so that'll be my final pit-stop, as I want to end this leg of the travel someplace familiar. Hue, Da Nang and Hoi An are a few places in between that I intend to go to, either by train or by local flight. And I am travelling on a budget. The thing is, I know I need to buck up and start preparations. But... I suddenly feel like I've miscalculated my timing. Going off right after exams? I don't think that's a good idea, especially since I still need time to study. Maybe getting myself a travel guide will be a good start?

#3. I haven't been completely honest with my parents in regards to my travel plans. They know I'm going to Vietnam, and they know I'll be off for 10 days. BUT... they don't know that I'll be going solo. Heh. I think my mum have an inkling of my plans, but I trust that she knows I'll be able to take care of myself since I've been travelling with her a few times now. But it's my dad. He can get overprotective at times, and I'm pretty sure that if he have any idea about this, he'll put a stop to it. (He had already pulled the brake for my Bangkok trip) So I'm easing him to the idea slowly. Do a bit of sweet talking... smile a lot more... maybe pull off my puppy-dog eyes...

I'm getting nervous just thinking about it. I'm not sure if I can survive 10 days with my own company. I had a dry-run of travelling solo to Singapore before, for 2 days and a night, and I thought that was okay. But... Singapore is too familiar. Vietnam will be a different matter entirely. Different cities, different language, different culture... but that's where the fun is, right?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Hanging out @ Espressamente, Pavilion

You know how yesterday I mentioned that I've cleaned up my room? And that I've pretty much settled all of my working matters? And how, all I have to worry about now is study?

Obviously that didn't happened since I was out and about (again) today. Hee... If Ms Sheila - my lecturer - reads about this, and is physically here, I'm pretty sure I kena ketuk kepala dengan buku teks yg seberat 2kg tu. Adoi... *rubs away imaginary pain*

Anyway, I had a good reason to be out today though. After months of empty talk and promises, I finally made plans to meet up with an old friend from college, who has been back since January and whom I haven't met for 2 years! It would've been more ideal if we could meet up with the rest of the gang, but some of them are busy with working lives, one is panicking over her exam (which I should be doing), and the other one is still in UK furthering her studies. So... Two is still a company right?

We met up at Pavilion for lunch, went shopping, and ended the day with coffee and cake. I'm still on an Illy's high, so we went to Espressamente @ Pavilion for my daily dose of coffee, after buying some pastries at The Loft. I went ahead with their Coffee Set, and ordered Cappucino Viennese with an extra shot of espresso, and the apple crumble. I have to say that I've never been much of an apple-anything person, but this... this basically converted me to a worshipper. I think this is going to be my new go-to place whenever I'm in need of a good hearty bite of apple crumble. See the picture, and I'll let you be the judge.

It was great hanging out here @ Espressamente. The staff were cordial and attentive, the atmosphere was good, the coffee and apple crumble are fantastic, there were plenty of magazines to browse through, and we had a good window seat for people-watching. I'm not much of a people-watching person, but it was nice to see the world go by while you're in your comfort zone. The company of an old friend is definitely a comfort zone for me, and it was great catching up with Azzah, get up-to-date to where the rest of our classmates are now, reminiscing on the good ol' days...

Thanks for the day Azzah! We definitely have to meet up again very soon, and this time with the rest of the gang!

PS: I ran my first 5k today! Huuzah!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kampar - Part 1 - Off Spelunking!

Spe-lun-king (noun): refers to amateurs without the proper knowledge, or training, in the recreational sport of exploring caves. (from wikipedia)

Through the wonders of Facebook, a friend of mine invited me along to a Caving & White Water Rafting (WWR) trip at Kampar on 16th May, organized by the Malaysian Outdoor, Trekking & Hiking Society (aka MOTHs). I've always wanted to get more involved doing outdoor activities, so I figured.. "Hey, it's a start." So, I spread the words around and managed to rope in a few friends, and we were all set to go on Saturday morning.

The plan was to meet up at my place at 630am. I know. It was ridiculously early, but Malaysians being Malaysians, I figured people would actually start showing up around 7am. We left at 730am, and still had to drive out to TTDI to pick-up another friend. We were suppose to regroup and meet-up with the rest of the convoy group at Sg Buloh RnR at 8am. Poor Reha (the organizer) had to wait for us as we were the last to arrive. BUT... through the fortunate combination of Japanese engineering and one hell of a driver behind the steering wheel, we got ahead of the pack and were the first to arrive at Gopeng toll plaza. Cam-whoring session ensued.

We regroup at Gopeng toll plaza before moving on to Gua Tempurung, which was only a further 5 minutes drive away. There, we met up with our tour guide, Maxxy, from RIVERBUG, where he briefed us on the caving trail, which would span approx 2 hours, as well as the safety protocalls.

I must say I was pretty nervous at this point. I've been to a few caves in my life, but never really went off-the-trail caving. And the fact that we need torchlight was another matter to be worried about. Have I mentioned that I am terrified (horrified!) of the dark? So, being the ever obedient people that we are, we strapped on our safety helmet and armed ourselves with our trusty flashlights (and a badge of courage for me!), before trooping onwards into the cave.

Took this picture of the caving tour packages available from the 'park' rangers. Definitely would try the Grand Tour next.

For the first half of the tour, we maneuvered through the dry part of the cave, pretty much on-trail and just followed the hand railings and stairs available. It was... interesting enough. Maxxy, the ever experienced tour guide, showed us the stalactite and stalagmite, told us the science behind the formations, and let our imagination go wild with some of the rock formations. We found one that looked like a fossil from Planet of the Ape.

After tirelessly climbing up countless steps, we finally got to 'The Top of the World' - the highest point you'd ever reach in the cave. And if you're scared of heights, I'd advise you to not look down because from this vantage point, you'd see one hell of a steep climb down into the pit of the earth. My legs were just shaking as I was making my way down those stairs, gripping the handrail for dear life in one hand and the torchlight in the other. Not an easy task.

A preview of the climb.

Once we reached the bottom, the only lights available were from the ones we had to carry along with us. Thankfully for me, there were plenty of people in the group to provide plenty of lights. There were 2 junctures from this point. If we were to take the left turn, we'd be walking deeper into the dark, and as Maxxy told us, would also take us to the Grand Tour route. We took the right turn instead, and continued on to the end, where - from here on, we'd begin our off-trail spelunking.

In order to 'officially' go off-trail, we had to step over the railings, take a slide down some muddy rocks and climb down this tiny hole in the ground. There were a bit of queing involved, as there were another group in front of us and we had to go through with this individually. But I must commend that our group were pretty efficient, and without much drama or fuss, because we managed to get everyone down within 30 minutes.

The slippery slide down.

The climb into the rabbit hole.

Once you've cleared this part, you're already standing in the river that passes through the cave. And after the stuffy heat of the cave, it was just so nice getting wet. Maxxy led us the rest of the way, as we trudge through the water.... crawling... ducking... swimming... posing...

And despite the uncomfortable weight of the helmet on my head, I was suddenly so glad to have it on. I'm pretty sure I'd have gotten a few concussions without that helmet. It saved my life! Well... that, and my torchlight.

We lost track of time, but it didn't matter. It was a great experience, and definitely something I'd try again.

Continue: Part 2 - White Water Rafting

It's finally done!

Yes! Beres! I've finally settled the mess that is my room! After a week(!) of labour, going through my junks again and again and again, sweating and mopping and cleaning and dusting and vacuuming... I'm finally 90% satisfied with the state of my room. The shelving unit that I bought from IKEA yesterday finally arrived this afternoon, and for a small fee (5% of the price of the furniture) I got the guy to assemble it for me - which, I'd have to say is sooo worth it. Not only do I save time, but I also won't get a senget piece of furniture.

So what do you think? I am definitely in love with this new addition to my room.

On another note, all those hours I'd saved from not assembling the furniture was put to good use. I'd finally confronted the evil that is my work, and basically sat down like a good lil employee and completed all those outstanding matters. Of course, I cheated a bit but I'm not telling my manager that. Hopefully, I'd gotten my hands clean off working matters for now. I do not intend to open my inbox for the next 5 weeks.

Which now leaves me with... EXAMS. Aiyoo....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What does your heart love?

I am still in the midst of spring cleaning, which is taking up a bit too much time than I had expected. I'm doing a complete overhaul of my room and I am leaving no carpets unturned! No dust bunny is safe from my handy vacuum cleaner.

Anyway, I was going through some old stack of papers from my college days when I stumbled on this article that I had saved from yonks ago, titled "What does your heart love?" The premise is simple. The author (Phillip Golingai), inspired by an instruction on a bumper sticker, SMS-ed the question to a bunch of people on his phonebook. The answers that he had received were insightful of the person who sent them. And... I think at point of time, I found the article kinda... cute. So, inspired by this article, I had experimented and done the same, sent the SMS to a bunch of close friends. Here are some of the answers I'd received:

The Question:
Take a moment, listen to your heart. What does it love? Now, type it and SMS to me. =)

The Answers:
(All names have been changed to protect their identity)

Ms D - a psychology major student: "My heart loves... loves... "

Mr K - always the dreamer friend: "I love being inspired. Like... the way of the samurai inspires me. But at the moment... "

Mr KV - now working as a business consultant: "An A for both unit 5 and 6 economics papers."

Mr MIAH - loves food and cooking: "Shepherd's pie."

Ms S - an architect: "My lingerie collection."

Ms A1 - my always sensible and level-headed lawyer friend : "I don't know what does it love but I can tell you what and who I love. Hahaha... "

Ms A2 - a childhood friend: "GOD. Atok, mum, dad, adik, ainun (aww..) , money, work, friends, study, Mr F, trees, music, love, home, knowledge."

Ms E - the dreamer & thinker: "Err... sorry, can't put in words."

Mr Y - the quiet friend: "Haha... I love what everyone loves. God, family, friends... Do I sound awkward? I can't think how to be anymore specific... "

Ms SS - the romantic: "Erm... my heart loves to be with someone special and that's my wish for this coming birthday." (and she's definitely got one for her birthday this year)

Now, ask yourself the same question and reply to me!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Things To Do @ 18/05/2009

I've this habit of making lists. Any sort of lists really, and I'd scribbled them down in a notepad which I'd keep on my bedside table at all times. Things I want to achieve in my lifetime, Things I want to own before I'm 30, Books I've Read, Books I want to Read, List of DVDs I own, List of DVDs I want to own, etc etc... but every Sunday night, I'd jot down things to do for the week and every night I'd review this list to see if I've actually achieved any of it.

It's been awhile since I've maintained a proper notepad with proper lists. I've upgraded and bought myself a whiteboard, which I've hung on the wall next to my door so I'd see it everytime I get out of the room. But... I'm in need of some motivation, or some reminder, or maybe some proper kick in the rear for the coming weeks ahead. So I'm posting up my lists here, so you lot can remind me anytime you see me on the streets, in the gym, in the office, or in the cinema... give me a proper scolding if you have to. ;)

For Week Beginning 18th May 2009
  • finish cleaning up room (sort out and donate those old books, recycle old study notes, vacuum/mop/dust/wax floors)
  • organize stuff - need to buy shelves & boxes
  • run twice a week, minimum 5km per run
  • go to gym, minimum 5x a week
  • register for revision classes
  • try to not drink coffee everyday
  • limit spending (no shopping!)
  • blog about Saturday's Kampar trip
  • blog about June travel plans
  • wrap up working files
  • start STUDYING!!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lunch @ Espressamente, Bangsar Village

Have been a cranky person the whole day. I blame the lack of sleep, and the physically strenuous activities yesterday. Hardly had the energy to open my eyes, yet even more, to function properly. I think the only thing that was on my mind was food and sleep. Because that was the only thing that I can properly do well.

My pick-up point would have to be lunch, where we had Sandwiches, Pastas, & Coffees at Espressamente @ Bangsar Village, an Illy's based cafe. My mum had been raving about their set promotions, so we decided to give it a go. My dad, sis and I ordered the Sandwich Set: a juice + any sandwich of your choice (RM16). My youngest sister had the Pasta Set: soft drink + any pasta of choice (RM17), whilst my mum had gotten herself the Coffee Set: any Illys coffee + any cake of choice(RM14). Considering that most of the a la carte items on the menu were above the RM10 range, I'd say these are definitely value for money.

The drinks came first, and I have to commend that they didn't skimp on the juices as these was fresh and not overly sweet. Both of my sisters orders came next, and the pasta came with a side of sliced baguette with garlic-infused olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a small serving of parmesan cheese. Not bad.

There were mix-ups with the order, and my dad and I had to suffer a very very long wait that had forced me near tears. (I warned you that I was a very cranky and moody person today.) Despite being one of the first few to order during the lunch hour rush, our food came last. My sisters and mum had moved on to dessert at this point. But the manager had been very gracious to apologize and offered desserts on the house. I was just too happy to finally get my food!

I ordered the Foccacia Pollo: grilled pesto chicken, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes and arugula leaves layered in between two thick slices of chilli foccacia bread. The ingredients were fresh, taste appropriately balanced and and the foccacia bread was soft and chewy. It was good, although I find the pesto a bit bland. But I love the combinations, and the portion was big enough for me to struggle to finish it (which I eventually did).

We had the apple crumble and chocolate cake for dessert. The chocolate cake was smooth, rich and very chocolatey without being too sweet. My preferred the apple crumble as it had a good bite, and a nice balance with the crumble.

Of course, Illy's is known for the quality of its espresso-based coffees, so it's almost criminal for a coffee-lover like me to give this a pass. I had the Marocchino: a shot of illy espresso, a dash of chocolate and topped with steam milk. Imagine this as a concentrated Mocha served in a shot glass, but to not be drank like a shot although the end result is the same. The coffee was velvety smooth and darkly rich, and I savoured it in small sips the best I can. And the caffeine effect came almost instantly, which was exactly what I needed, and I was my bright sunny self again (to the delights of my family, who had unwillingly became victims of my crankiness).

Now that I am fully charged-up with caffeine, need to roll-up my sleeve and get back to that overdue workload of mine. Shall blog about my caving and white water rafting trip once I get the pictures from my friend.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Karma Came Around and We Watched a Movie!

It's a Friday night, and I have the Friday blues. Barely minutes before the 'official' clock-out hour, I received a couple of phonecalls from office with more work to do. And I've to settle it by this weekend as I'll be on my study leave for the next 6 weeks. Aiyoh.. so depressing-nye!


I have to confess that I have not been such a model employee anyway. I was in the cinema with a fellow ' non-model' employee, when I received the phonecalls. Yes, I've been playing truant. Again. For the third day in a row. And now, on a Friday night, I have to work. Ahh.. karma. What goes around, comes around, right? ;)

Anyway, I was in the middle of watching Sell Out : a local satirical film by Yeo Joon Wai when Karma came over and started kicking me in the rear. I've been meaning to watch this eversince I read the glowing review in the papers last week. So, after watching Star Trek for two days in a row (yes... it's that good!), my friend and I finally found a convenient time-slot for us to catch the movie.

The Verdict?

Ok. For starters, I love the quality of the film. It was good. The editing.. the cinematography.. the lighting. What I don't get is why all the other local Malay-language films can't be made the same way? Why do we always get very grainy films, low lighting, poor colouring sort of movies? Go digital! That's what I'd say.

Second: for a satire movie, I love how they exagerate the situations and made fun of Malaysians and their quirks, by being absolutely sarcastic about it. As a warning though, it's not a laugh-out-loud, "hey, it's a joke" sort-of obvious satire. The execution is.. subtle and mellow. Other than the sudden burst-out into songs here and there, I found the movie rather sombre for most parts and gruesome in some others. I think for people who are not inclined to have their thinking cap on during a movie, would not get some of the jokes. My friend definitely didn't and the only reason she laughed was because she thought the whole movie was ridiculous!

Third: I love the musical elements in the movie. I grew up with Grease and Sounds of Music constantly on repeat on the VHS player, so this is definitely something I appreciate. My favourite would have to be the one sung by heart-disease guy and the part where you can actually karaoke along with the movie! Seriously! I urge you to sing-along!

Overall, it was good. You could sympathise with the characters, but most of the time you'd think they're crazy. A warning though, the plot of the story is rather vague so I advice you to not follow it and just... enjoy!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I can't sleep. I'm hungry (only had black coffee and baked macaroni today). I feel sooo tak bersemangat to go to work tmr. And I have a lot of things going on in my head like... my studies... exams... THE Trip... WWR this Saturday... money... and lastly (and one most troublesome) matters of the heart.

I'm uncomfortable with these trains of thoughts, and the fact that I've started questioning the things that are already good in my life. Why? Because it shows that I'm wavering. Yet again. I'm considering options and alternate lives, which is something I've never considered before because I had once believed that I had unyielding faith.

Now what?

Should I ignore this moment of weakness and move on? And place this small little timeframe behind a closed locked door? Or should I confront this possibility and really really evaluate my options. Or do I just walk away from it all?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Movie Review: Star Trek

Shh.. don't tell my boss(es) this but... *whisper* I skip work today *endwhisper*

Ehem... you can't really blame a girl for something that is unavoidable though. I was already on a bus on my way to client's after lunch when it started pouring! And really... do you expect me to walk in the rain in 3-inch heels, a shoe bag in one hand and a laptop on my back??! You must be crazy! I would've stayed on the bus and gone back to KL Sentral if I hadn't spied Pavilion on the next bus stop. I would get plenty of shelter from the rain there. =)

And... well, now that a situation have presented itself to me decked out in a glittering red dress, with a hemline so short, it's just screaming to be taken advantage off... *ahem*...

ANYWAY... I headed straight to GSC and lady luck was on my side when the next Star Trek movie was showing in 15minutes! Logic would dictate that I buy the ticket immediately and get myself seated comfortably in the cinema, with plenty of time to munch on popcorns and googling over all the trailers. And I am nothing but a logical person. =)

Ok... before I jump into the review itself, let's take a little History lesson!

Star Trek originated as a television series in 1966 that survived for only 3 season ('66 - '69) and which had brought to life timeless characters such as James T Kirk, Spock, Bones and Scott and memorable quotes such as "Beam me up Scotty!" & "Live well and prosper... V". It later served as a foundation for four additional live-action television series, one animated television series and eleven theatrical films. This latest of the 11 theatrical films is the current showing "Star Trek" feat Chris Pine (Just My Luck) and Zachary Pinto (Heroes).

Now... I have to say that up to this point I have never ever watched a Star Trek episodes/movie before. Ever. Of course I'm roughly aware of the cult status of this sci-fi as well as the corny colour-coordinated uniforms, but that's where my knowledge of Star Trek ends. And I have to admit that I had prematurely concluded that I was going to give this movie a pass.

So what convinced me otherwise? My brother's rave review about it. And if I know my brother as well as I think I do, then his approval is very much note-worthy. And so here I am.
Now, as a warning, if you want to be spoiler-free, please do look away. Go find someone else's blog to read. I shall not be held responsible for the contents that you will read henceforth.

For an opener, we get a glimpse to the USS Enterprise encountering an abnormal "black-storm" before a mammoth sized and savage looking Romulan ship emerged and attack the Federation Starfleet. On board are the newly captained George Kirk, and his 'very-pregnant-and-very-much-in-labour' wife. We're 15 minutes in, and the outlook is bleak. Autopilot is malfunctioning and Captain Kirk stayed behind to go Kamikaze-assed on the Romulans. Here, we are treated to a nicely done cinematography and contrast of the chaos of the onslaught, as Captain Kirk struggles to hold-up defence as his crew evacuates, to the beauty of his wife's childbirth, all played out to a slow string-backed musical. A second of silence before it was broken with the cries of his baby boy, and here you can't help but smile along as both parents decided on a name. Of course, such happy moment are short-lived. As Captain Pike best described this event later on in the film (as he was recruiting James Kirk) , "Your father was captain of the Enterprise for 18 minutes, yet he had saved more than 800 lives of his crew members, including yours' and your mother."

We are briefly treated to the childhood of both James Kirk and Spock, before we warp-speed forward to 25 years later, where we find our very own Mr Spock at a cross road on which to accept either his paternal Vulcan heritage (noted for their attempt to live by reason and logic with no interference from emotion) or his maternal Human side. On the other side of the spectrum, we are introduced to the adult James Tiberius Kirk, renegade ladies man who is caught in a messy situation at a bar.
Introductions aside, I'm not really planning to bore you on the details of the movie, but let's just say that it was awesome and one of the best sci-fi movie I've watched to date. There's plenty of actions to keep you entertained and on the edge of your seat. And this is effortlessly balanced out with great characters developments and amazing delivery by the casts. The visual effects are awe-inspiring, amd cinematography was brilliant! Much thoughts and considerations have definitely been through in coming up with the screenplay, and this is reflected in the depth of the movie and the carefully crafted essence that personifies a Star Trek franchise. This is definitely a movie that engages the audience to connect with the characters and its surroundings. And you'd find yourself rooting for Kirk or Spock or any of the crew to pull through any messy situation they are thrown into. It's difficult not to be a fan of the movie by the time the credit rolled in. And I really hope that they would revive the Star Trek eras with more movies of this calibre.
Verdict? TWO Thumbs WAY Up!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

For the Love of Pavlova

Let me enlighten you with a love story.

It began in early 2008. At that moment in time, I was developing a habit of reading up local food blogs in my spare time. But it was this post specifically that made me believe in love at first sight.

Now, up to this point, I've only heard of Alexis and could only entertain daydreams of being a 20-something career woman who can actually afford to go to this sort of chic places to socialize with other 20-to-30-something career people (I blame the tv for putting these ideas in my head!). But now that I've a full-time job that entitles me to that position, I figured that my excuses have run its course.

So, in one of those rare moments when I'm actually in the office with nothing to do, I grabbed a friend along for an early lunch to Bangsar, where we pretended we were in a scene from SatC (brownie points if you know what this stands for!) and had gossip-over-salad for lunch and sins-with-cream for dessert. And I know that from the moment the waiter placed it in front of me for my indulgence, I was convinced that this feeling that was pitter-pattering underneath my ribcage... it's real. And a bite was all it took for me to believe that the feeling is mutual. And thus began my beautiful affair with the Pavlova. The light-airy-marshmallowy bite paired with sweetened cream and the sharp fresh tang of strawberries... Really. How can you not salivate at this ?!?!

Of course, since then, I have toyed with the idea to make my own Pav (not to be confused with Pavilion) a few times but I was worried I might taint those beautiful memories I've had with Alexis. So... call it a call of the spontaneity when out of restlessness I decided to make my very first Pav for Mother's Day last Sunday evening. At this point in time, I've the recipes memorized and stamped and inked into my brain from those countless times that I've perused through other people's attempt at Pavlova. So preparation didn't take up much time. HOWEVER, I do have a problem with the sugar content as prescribed in the recipe though. Most of the recipes (ranging from 4-to-6 eggs Pav) calls for 1 cup of granulated sugar. I'd decided to halved this (and still think it's too much!).

Dealing with white eggs for the first time was both nerve-wrecking and exciting. I knew the consistency that I was looking for, but I want to be extra careful for my first attempt. And lo and behold, you have no idea how excited I was to see a bowl of white fluffies!

Even Pixie wants to jump in.

Originally I had planned to make two 8-inch discs to make a Pav sandwich, but I realised too late that I don't have enough egg-whites for that. So decided on just one just 8-inch mountain instead. And in all honesty, I've no clue on how to handle this, so for a moment there, all you can see is a mess before I came up with this:

Yes. I know. It's still a mess, but it looks tangible enough.

So, with fingers crossed, popped this in 120 C pre-heated oven for 1.5hours and leave it in the oven to cool down completely, says the instruction. Of course, this wasn't what happened since my oven's temperature is all whacked-out and the Pav got browned early on in the baking process. So I turned down the heat to 80C and baked it for a further 15 - 20 minutes just to be sure.

It came out alright, but it looked slightly deflated, so I had reasons to be worried. I packed it up and left it to cool down overnight. Bought (Indonesian) strawberries (saved on my carbon prints but found it rather sour) and creams last night after work, and finished off the assembly.

The Verdict?

A clean plate in under an hour.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I still have about an hour left to give this shout out to my Mammy, so...


Hope spending another quiet Sunday with your girls didn't disappoint. =)

Anyway, I HAD made plans to cook something for dinner today, since just last weekend both my mum and I had lament how bored we were of eating out. BUT... my dad was home and he had promised my mum to take her out for brunch to one of her favourite place, which happens to be Chinoz in the Park @ KLCC. And... really... how can I compete with that??

But... I didn't give up entirely though. I still manage to make my Pavlova in the evening. The results? Mmmm... maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A start

My brother mentioned to me the other day that I should start my own blog to chronicles the activities that I've got planned for myself in the next month or so. Of course, I think nothing of it but he reckons that it's worth sharing with others. And... well... since I immensely enjoy updating my status on Facebook, I'd figured... Hey, why not!

So... this is my first post! And no... I will not reveal my plans... yet. I don't want to jinx it. Of course, it's no big secret to those who knows me but the details are. And... well, I am trying not to make a big hoo-hah out of it, so I shall play it out as quietly as I can.

On another note though, I'm planning to go caving and white-water rafting at Kampar this coming Saturday with a couple of friends. Nothing concrete has been finalised yet, so I'm getting worried since it's only a week away. Let's hope Malaysians will always be Malaysians and things will pull through in the end.

ALSO! I have registered myself for my very first 10k run! It'll be for the Standard Chartered - KL Marathon which is coming up on 28th of June, and even as I'm writing this, I'm thinking "What the hell have I gotten myself into!" I'm still considering whether I should go or not. I have so much excuses in my head but the reason I signed up for the run in the first place was so that I would stop making those excuses in the first place! I've... less than 2 months, and even the idea of training makes me nauseous. Well, maybe if I buy myself a pair of new running shoes I won't have any excuses left?

Oh no....
** the sound of money flying away **